If you’re looking to save time and get more done in a day, this article is for you. Productivity is a big deal. A Google search for the word yields 196,000,000 results (in 0.49 seconds, no less!). And getting productive, starts with getting your small business organized.
Agree? You’re not alone.
Check out these stats from smallbusiness.com, based off an Office Depot survey of 1,290 small business owners:
- 83 percent of small business owners believe having an organized office is a vital part of their business.
- 63 percent of small business owners believe office organization correlates to their business’ profitability
Being disorganized makes everything harder. It diminishes your focus and zaps your strength. Here are 8 ways to get organized that will help you get more done in less time.
Hire a virtual assistant
Mundane, repetitive tasks can suck the energy right out of you. Yet, they have to be done to keep your business running. If you’ve ever wished you had an assistant but weren’t in a place to hire one yet, a virtual assistant (VA) is what you’ve been waiting for.
VAs are self-employed workers who remotely offer affordable, on-demand administrative services. Need someone to create SlideShare presentations? There’s an assistant for that. What about someone to schedule appointments? Yep, they can do that too.
A VA can do just about anything you need, from communicating with your clients to helping you with strategic decisions. Head to sites like Upwork, Zirtual, and Fancy Hands to find specialized freelancers and virtual assistants who are guaranteed to make your life 100 times more productive. How? You have more time to focus on what’s important—growing your business.
Integrate the cloud into all your tools
Ever had a computer die and lost important files? Ever needed a document, presentation, or spreadsheet while on the road or in a meeting? Want your files to be perfectly synced across all you devices, from your laptop to your smart phone?
Getting your files in the cloud keeps them safe and accessible, anytime and anywhere. Join the 82 percent of businesses that have a cloud strategy with tools like Dropbox and Google Drive all have free versions and will work on your computer and mobile devices.
So, no matter where you are or what device you’re using, you can access the files you need.
Upgrade to online accounting software
For a lot of years, I used a desktop version of QuickBooks. It was helpful, but I rarely took the time I needed to actually sit down and reconcile my accounts. So, when I finally did, it was a long, arduous process. That all changed when I switched to an online accounting tool.
Cloud-based bookkeeping tools can work wonders to get your books organized and keep them that way. They integrate right into your bank account, pull transactions, and match them up with your entries. And perhaps the best feature of all is that through the mobile apps, you can reconcile your accounts anywhere and anytime—like when you’re waiting for your oil to be changed, for instance.
Use social media software
Does keeping up with social media feel like a time suck? Stop manually updating your social media feeds. Free up your time by using software that can automate much of your social media presence.
Buffer, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social automatically send out social media updates in advance—saving you valuable time throughout the week or month. With these tools you can stagger your updates and publish across multiple profiles. Your social media works for you while you focus on other things.
Plus, you get robust analytics that help you make smarter decisions regarding your social strategy going forward.
Say goodbye to paper
Paper had a good run, and it will stay with us for decades to come. But technology has given us better alternatives.
Nix your overflowing filing cabinets and scan your documents in one fell swoop. Genius Scan enables you to scan your documents from your phone and then export them as JPEGs or PDF files. It integrates with notebook tools like Evernote.
Don’t want to manually scan your documents? Check out Shoeboxed. You simply collect everything you want to be scanned, send it to Shoeboxed, and they do all the work for you. It also syncs with many popular online tools to import your scanned data.
Clear your cluttered desktop
Doesn’t it feel great to look at your computer desktop and see everything organized, neat and ready to go? If you can’t remember the last time that you felt that way, then organize your computer desktop.
One’s working environment has been shown to directly impact productivity. Researchers from Princeton University Neuroscience Institute found that chaos can infringe upon the ability to focus on a job at hand.
A streamlined and clean computer screen can help you feel motivated and creative. Take a few moments every few days to delete unneeded files, and put new ones into relevant folders.
Own your time
If you need to track time for your business, as well as send invoices and track expenses against a budget, a solution like Harvest makes it a breeze. You can use it on your computer and you mobile devices and it all syncs up.
Also, nothing is worse than the appointment back and forth. Use an app like Calendly to make meeting scheduling an automated breeze. You can also use a virtual assistant to help you get the most out of your appointment book and scheduler.
Improve your contact management
Managing customers, leads, payments, and other key information is an ongoing challenge—one that can cost you sales. Today’s successful, modern small businesses use customer relationship management (CRM) apps like Infusionsoft to get organized—and stay that way—by connecting to your business apps and helping you follow up where you need it most: overdue invoices, quotes, customer questions, and more. No more losing track of important emails; the software remembers for you.
Prioritize your small business and its organization. We promise your life is about to get a lot more productive.